Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Doggie Dogmas for Living

This creative non-fiction photo essay has been excerpted from a (Oxymoron alert!) longer short work.

Fur Babies by Sky Sloderbeck

~ Doggie Dogmas for Living ~

Wolfie on Loyalty and Love

He curled his tail between his legs and looked towards the door that my boyfriend had disappeared through and then back at the couch that I was patting. Ever since Damon and I had moved in together, Wolfie had been on a slow decline. Where once he was vibrant and perpetually happy, he was now unsure and frightened. Where once his brindle coat – so uncommon in a German Shepherd – had been thick and soft, it was now patchy and brittle. Where once he was a 90-pound lapdog, he now trembled when I tried to urge him up on the couch with me.

Finally, with slow, tentative movements and an ear cocked towards the office, he crept up next to me and curled into an impossibly tight ball against my side, his muzzle hidden beneath his sparse tail. I caressed him gently and tried to fight the sharp pain knifing me in the chest. This decision had been made weeks ago, but I kept denying that I really had to go through with it. I kept hoping that things would get better and that the three of us could live together happily. But Damon hated Wolfie, and that toxic energy was taking a terrible toll on Wolfie. It had to be this weekend.

It was a struggle to make the thirty-minute drive to the no-kill animal shelter, not only emotionally, but physically; the road was blurry through my tears and it was hard to breathe from the body-draining sobbing. The trip was filled with flashbacks: The day Wolfie was born, not breathing, and I broke him out of the birth sac, rubbing his chest to encourage him to fight for life; the trips he took with me to visit family – from Virginia to Ohio and back again – his small puppy head nestled on my thigh; his comfortable presence in the bed next to me and his warm tongue on my cheek when the pain of my husband leaving me became too much; the smiles he put on my face from his bat ears and high-pitched puppy bark, even when he was no longer a puppy; and how I could walk the streets of Clifton with him at my side, with no leash, and know that he and I were so bonded that I never had to worry about his safety.

“I’m doing this for you, Wolfie. I love Damon and it’s not fair to you. You’ll be so much happier with an entire family that loves you. I’ll miss you, but I can’t be selfish and see you so unhappy.”  The excuses kept coming, but none of them eased the pain; they only obscured the truth.

When the volunteer closed the crate door and I walked away, the last sound I heard was his whine. Come back, please. Don't leave me. I love you.

Wolfie circa 1998 by Sky SloderbeckWolfie and Sky circa 1996

No one is worth giving away
a piece of your heart and soul for.

(End Excerpt)


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